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UK trust unlocks over £400,000 investment in ‘tech for good’ to tackle social challenges

Nominet Trust awards investment to nine social tech ventures in sixth edition of Social Tech Seed funding programme

22 September 2016, London — Teenagers struggling with mental and physical health problems, children living with cystic fibrosis, isolated older people, children in need of prosthetic hands and people with learning disabilities are just some of the groups that stand to benefit from new funding for a range of online and digital innovations being developed by UK tech for good ventures.

Nine social tech enterprises have been selected as the latest recipients of grant funding from Nominet Trust. The funding will enable them to demonstrate the potential of their online and digital products and services to help groups facing specific challenges in accessing much needed support. The UK’s leading dedicated tech for good funder will assist the ventures in developing their technologies and demonstrating the positive social impact they can achieve by improving people’s lives.

For example, Open Bionics is using the latest 3D body scanning and printing technology to create bionic hands that are lightweight, cost just £2,000, and are designed to help children adjust to limb loss and feel more positive about their differences. The funding from Nominet Trust will help trial the products with 25 amputees, showcasing how this exciting technology can alter perceptions and transform lives.

Another recipient, Troo Life Coach Ltd, is producing a new app using a host of innovative technology, including Natural Language Processing, to help teenagers tackle the host of stressful mental and physical challenges they face day-to-day. The app brings together neuroscience, behavioural economics, psychology and artificial intelligence to offer personalised support through a young person’s smartphone – motivating them to make positive decisions and tackle the issues that are worrying them head on.

MIRROR, a new app from Emteq, harnesses the same smart technology used in films and games to measure facial movements. It aims to help the more than 105,000 people in the UK with facial paralysis, enhancing their recovery by using interactive rehabilitation ‘games’ and real time physiotherapy feedback.

Ami from Oxford Computer Consultants is an innovative new online matching platform to combat loneliness and isolation in local communities, particularly among older people by linking them to neighbours, who may be completely unaware of their needs, but have time to spare and a willingness to help.

In total, the nine tech for good ventures have been awarded £420,200 via Nominet Trust’s Social Tech Seed funding programme. Social Tech Seed is an open grant-funding programme that offers entrepreneurial organisations early-stage investment to develop innovative projects harnessing the power of the internet and digital technologies to deliver significant social change. The programme supports projects tackling pressing social challenges such as the environment and sustainability, education, employment and healthcare.

The other successful ventures are:

  • Marmo Health: Created MyOwnTeam, a chat based app to help people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes to follow their treatment and medication regimes.
  • NOW Group: NOW Group’s JAM smartphone app gives people who have additional needs or learning disabilities a discreet way to signal that they need extra time to access services.
  • OgenBlik Ltd: A new approach to mental health that harnesses haptic technology in the ‘OliTool’ to support the one in six adults in the UK who suffer from an anxiety disorder.
  • Wonky Star: Night Zookeeper is an educational online platform using online auto-assessment to identify those children whose writing shows signs of dyslexia.
  • Zephx Ltd: Developed Zephbot as an interactive app to help children with Cystic Fibrosis complete their vital physiotherapy and breathing exercises correctly.

These organisations will use the funding to develop their products and services further, demonstrating their social, user and financial value.

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust, said: “The significant interest this round of Social Tech Seed generated clearly demonstrates the vital role that Nominet Trust fulfils in providing early stage grant funding to entrepreneurial organisations in the tech for good sector. We’re really looking forward to working with this cohort to support their growth and the social impact they can deliver.”

Social Tech Seed has supported numerous organisations over its first five rounds. Previous grantees include Andiamo, which uses 3D scanning and printing technology to make customised orthotics for children with cerebral palsy and Limitless Travel, an online platform which makes it much easier for disabled travellers to search and compare accommodation that suits them. The call for applications for the seventh round of the Social Tech Seed programme is now open. You can submit your funding proposal here until 25th October 2016: http://www.nominettrust.org.uk/how-to-apply/social-tech-seed


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